Methadone (METH)

CPT Code:





30 mL


Use plastic urine drug bottle and evidence tape or tamper-evident container for forensic specimen. Collection kits are available by request from the laboratory.


Urine specimens should be collected in clean, unbreakable, and leak proof containers.  Freshly voided urine specimens should be used.

Fresh urine specimens do not require any special pretreatment.  No additives or preservatives are required.  Boric acid should not be used as a preservative. 

Specimens may be encountered that display turbidity.  It is recommended that such specimens be centrifuged before analysis.

Specimens should be within the pH range of 5-8.  Specimens with a pH outside this range should be adjusted to this range by the addition of 1N HCl or 1N NaOH before analysis.

Specimens should be at a temperature of 20-25 ⁰C before analysis.


If not analyzed immediately, specimens should be stored refrigerated for less than 24 hours.  Specimens should be frozen if storage longer than 24 hours is required.


300 ng/mL


This method provides only a preliminary analytical test result.  A more specific alternate chemical method must be used in order to obtain a confirmed analytical result.  Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is the preferred confirmatory method.  Other chemical confirmation methods are available.  Clinical consideration and professional judgment should be applied to any drug of abuse test result, particularly when preliminary positive results are used.


Measurements obtained with METH method are used in the diagnosis and treatment of methadone use or overdose, and to determine compliance with methadone maintenance treatment.


 Methadone is a synthetic narcotic/analgesic drug that is administered orally or intravenously.  Medically assisted withdrawal from opioids is usually accomplished using methadone.  Methadone is frequently used in maintenance programs as a substitute for heroin or other abused opiods, while allowing the subject to successfully participate in drug rehabilitation.  Patients are able to function well on methadone and perform complex tasks competently. 

Methadone is  metabolized in the liver.  The kidneys become a major route of methadone excretion at doses exceeding 50 mg/dL.  Urine levels in methadone maintenance patients range from 1 to 5 µg/mL 24 hours after methadone dose.